Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

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Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are incredibly easy to make in the air fryer with so much less hassle than on the stovetop, oven or grill. They’re seasoned to perfection and ready to eat in 25 minutes.

chicken drumsticks

Everyone loves chicken drumsticks so why not make everyone happy for dinner tonight by crisping up something easy and fun to eat.

Best of all, you can cook these chicken drumsticks in the air fryer from raw or frozen, in case you find yourself running low on time for defrosting. Just pull them from the freezer and toss them in the air fryer.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Cooking in the air fryer is so much faster than the oven and the chicken drumsticks come out very tender and juicy, better than oven-baked!
  • Chicken drumsticks are inexpensive and easy to make.
  • Your dinner is good to go in just 20 minutes. It’s a quick and straightforward solution, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your meal.

» Also try these chicken breast without breading or go all out and cook a whole chicken in your air fryer!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken drumsticks – This recipe calls for 8 medium drumsticks.
  • Seasonings – Paprika and seasoned salt.
  • Cooking oil

Equipment Information

Helpful Tips

  • Internal temperature needs to be 165° F(75°C) when done. Always check the temperature and continue cooking if necessary.
  • If cooking from frozen, cook at 380° F(195°C) for 35 minutes.
  • If cooking only 2-4 drumsticks, cook for 25 minutes.
  • If cooking from frozen, you’ll need to cook them at 380° F(195°C) for 25-30 minutes, depending on their size. As you can see in our photos, the drumsticks are on the smaller side. These took 25 minutes to cook from frozen to 165° F(75°C).
  • If you’ve stacked up a dozen or more drumsticks in the air fryer basket, they might need even longer. Be sure to check that the meat is cooked through either with a thermometer or by checking the center.
  • If you’re starting with frozen drumsticks, you won’t be able to put on the seasoning at the start. Instead, hold off until the halfway point, when you turn the drumsticks. You can then season them and give them a little spritz of oil, if they need it.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Step 1: Season the chicken

air fryer chicken drumsticks

Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with a paper towel. If they’re frozen, you can skip this step.

Combine the paprika and seasoned salt. Season each piece of chicken. The more thoroughly you season, the more flavor they will have.

If you’re starting with frozen drumsticks, you won’t be able to put on the seasoning at the start. Instead, hold off until the halfway point, when you turn the drumsticks. You can then season them and give them a little spritz of oil, if they need it.

Step 2: Air fry

raw chicken drumsticks

Place the chicken in the basket. Cook at 370° F (185° C) for 20 minutes, turning the drumsticks over at the halfway mark.

The Internal temperature of the meat needs to be 165° F(75°C). That’s how you know they’re done. Since air fryers can be quite different, always check the temperature and continue cooking if necessary.

chicken drumsticks cooked

I have found that the timing depends greatly on the size of the chicken drumsticks you’re using. Larger drumsticks will need up to 25 minutes to reach the correct internal temperature.

If you want to cook them even faster, you’ll get a crispier result from cooking the drumsticks at 380° F(195°C) for 18 minutes.

Alternative Seasonings

There are so many ways to dress up chicken drumsticks. Since these are such an easy dinner or snack to make, we like to mix it up sometimes and eat them with different seasonings and sauces. You could have a different style every night, if you wanted.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Cajun seasoning
  • Sprinkle on some smoked salt or BBQ meat seasoning, or slather with BBQ sauce near the end of cooking.
  • Season with some celery salt and brush on some Frank’s Red Hot sauce near the end of cooking.
  • Serve with ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or this delicious Alabama white BBQ sauce.
drumsticks with sauce

How to Store & Reheat

  • Before storing, let the drumsticks cool down to room temperature to avoid moisture buildup, which can make the chicken soggy.
  • Use air-tight containers or sealable plastic bags to store the drumsticks. If you’re using bags, try to squeeze out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn if you’re freezing them.
  • Store the drumsticks in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze them. In the freezer, they can last up to 4 months. Just make sure to label the container or bag with the date, so you know how long they’ve been stored.

Reheating Chicken Drumsticks

  • The oven is your best bet for retaining the chicken’s flavor and texture. Preheat the oven to 375° F(190°C), place the drum sticks on a baking sheet, and heat for about 18-20 minutes. This will typically get you closest to the original texture and flavor.
  • In the air fryer, add the drumsticks to the basket and cook at 350°F (175°C) for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking

Questions About the Recipe

How long does it take to cook chicken drumsticks in the air fryer?

The cooking time for air fryer chicken drumsticks typically ranges from 20 to 30 minutes at a temperature of around 370°F (185°C). However, the exact time may vary based on the size of the drumsticks and the specific air fryer model. It’s recommended to check for doneness using a meat thermometer, ensuring the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (75°C).

Should I preheat the air fryer before cooking chicken drumsticks?

There is no need to preheat the air fryer. If you do preheat, be aware that the cooking time will be different since the cooking time of this recipe doesn’t include preheating.

Is it necessary to flip chicken drumsticks in the air fryer?

Flipping chicken drumsticks in the air fryer is recommended for even cooking. It helps ensure that both sides achieve the desired crispiness and prevents uneven browning. If you notice one side cooking faster than the other, gently flip the drumsticks halfway through the cooking process to achieve a more consistent result.

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chicken drumsticks

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are incredibly easy to make in the air fryer. They're seasoned to perfection and ready to eat in 25 minutes.
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 8 medium chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or similar)
  • Spray cooking oil
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with a paper towel.
  • Combine the paprika and seasoned salt. Season each piece of chicken.
  • Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Place the chicken in the basket. Cook at 370° F(185° C) for 20 minutes, turning the drumsticks over at the halfway mark.
  • Until the internal temperature reaches 165° F(75°C).
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Internal temperature needs to be 165° F(75°C) when done. Always check the temperature and continue cooking if necessary.
  • If cooking from frozen, cook at 380°F (195°C) for 35 minutes.
  • If cooking only 2-4 drumsticks, cook for 25 minutes.
  • If cooking from frozen, you’ll need to cook them at 380° F(195°C) for 25-30 minutes, depending on their size. As you can see in our photos, the drumsticks are on the smaller side. These took 25 minutes to cook from frozen to 165° F(75°C).
  • If you’re starting with frozen drumsticks, you won’t be able to put on the seasoning at the start. Instead, hold off until the halfway point, when you turn the drumsticks. You can then season them and give them a little spritz of oil, if they need it.
  • If you’ve stacked up a dozen or more drumsticks in the air fryer basket, they might need even longer. Be sure to check that the meat is cooked through either with a thermometer or by checking the center.

All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 27gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 448mgPotassium: 343mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 142IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Air Fryer, Chicken
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5 thoughts on “Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

    • Angela Morris says:

      I wouldn’t recommend it. The skin will keep the drumsticks nice and juicy. It would be better to remove the skin before you eat it.

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